Much to the relief of Delaware’s police officers and emergency room workers, a ban on synthetic drugs called “bath salts” has now been made permanent.
Nurses, law-enforcement officials and state lawmakers joined Governor Jack Markell Wednesday in Dover as he signed legislation to make the sale and distribution of bath salts illegal. The Governor enacted a temporary emergency ban last fall which would have expired without legislative action.
Markell said the action was needed to deal with what he called a “scary epidemic.”
Two registered nurses who serve in the Delaware General Assembly, Senator Bethany Hall-Long (D-Miiddletown) and Representative Rebecca Walker (D-Middletown), took the lead in developing the legislation – based on their professional expertise and experience.
Hall-Long said the bill was drafted to allow for some flexibility to possibly include other similar chemical compounds in the future, “so that we will hopefully protect some more of our citizens.”
It is believed that the suspect in last September’s stabbing death of New Castle County Police Officer Joseph Sczcerba was under the influence of bath salts. The chief of the County Police Department, Col. Scott McLaren, said officers were noticing the disturbing trend about a year ago. He also believes the temporary ban made a big difference, and the permanent outlawing of bath salts will have long-term benefits.
“It’s going to make people think twice, we hope, before they experiment or sell or deliver the substance,” McLaren said.